If it’s your first time buying a car, you’ve probably heard plenty of bad car buying horror stories circling around from family members or friends. However, buying a car for the first time doesn’t have to be as difficult as many find it to be.
Avoiding the disappointment of paying too much or buying a car you aren’t happy with comes down to taking the time to prepare. Everything from researching cars to planning out your financing can help relieve the headache that often comes with car buying.
Without further ado, here are a few hints for helping you make your first car buying experience one that you can be proud of!
Figure Out Financing in Advance
Knowing how you’re going to pay for the car is very important. Financing can be one of the largest hurdles for first time car buyers, so it’s important to have it figured out by the time you head to the dealership.
Securing a car loan is no small feat if you have less-than-perfect credit or no credit at all. Take the time to build good credit before you try to secure a loan. If you still aren’t able to receive the funds, having the loan be co-signed can help, and it can also help build the credit you need. The dealership may also offer their own financing options, but have a plan going in just in case you don’t find their offer appealing.
Research is a Car Buyer’s Best Friend
Take a long, hard look at the vehicle or vehicles you are considering. Make sure that the ones you choose to test drive meet your basic needs. For example, look at models that seat the right number of passengers, can handle the weather where you live, have the right amount of cargo space, have a fuel economy that matches your commute/budget, etc.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a couple of models, it’s time to research an appropriate purchase price. Your biggest asset here will be the Internet. Sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds have tools to show you the going market price for the makes and models you may be considering.
Additionally, you can learn what others in your area are paying, and this can help you have a number in mind when it comes to negotiating later.
Take a Test Drive
After you’ve researched, found models you love, and figured out a financing plan, it’s time to head to the dealership and test drive the models you’ve researched. Test drives are a first time buyer’s ultimate tool for deciding whether or not the car is right for you. It’s when you get a sense of the car’s handling, interior noise, acceleration and braking.
When test driving, be sure to take the car over the types of roads that you will most likely take. For example, if your commute includes the interstate, be sure to take it during part of your test drive. This will help you see how the car functions at higher speeds.
Confidence is key, especially if you’re buying a car. Once you’ve found the car for you, it’s time to buy – and like it or not that means negotiating.
If you’ve done your research, know how much you can spend, and know how much your car typically sells for, you should have no problem being confident during the negotiation process. It’s important to remember that you do NOT have to take the dealer’s offer if you feel it is unfair. If they refuse to accept your maximum price, feel free to walk away and find something that better fits your budget.
Good luck and happy shopping!